Risk assessors and health and safety personnel in New Jersey will likely know that the insurance firm Liberty Mutual releases a report every year ranking the most common causes of nonfatal workplace injuries. The latest Workplace Safety Index was released on Jan. 14, and it revealed that injuries related to overexertion were the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims in 2013. This finding will come as no surprise to safety advocates who are already familiar with a November 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics report revealing that musculoskeletal disorders accounted for almost a third of all illness and injury cases among American workers in 2014.
Unsurprisingly, the workers most likely to suffer this type of injury are employed in sectors like healthcare, construction and retail that require the frequent lifting and moving of heavy weights. Workplace accidents caused by overexertion are thought to drain about $15 billion from the economy each year, and they account for almost a quarter of all of the costs related to worker injuries.
According to the Liberty Mutual report, the ten most common types of job injury accounted for more than 80 percent of the costs associated with nonfatal workplace accidents. Other common causes of injury for workers include falls, being struck by an object and motor vehicle accidents.
Injuries related to overexertion often require considerable time to heal fully, and injured workers in New Jersey may rely on benefits provided by the state’s workers’ compensation program to make ends meet while they are unable to earn a paycheck. However, employers hoping to keep insurance premiums under control may claim that an employee hurt themselves while lifting a heavy object at home rather than at work. In these situations, attorneys with workers’ compensation experience could advocate on behalf of injured workers during the hearings that are held to determine their eligibility for benefits.